Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Known by its acronym, FERPA, this important legislation guarantees students certain rights regarding their education records (records that include, but are not limited to, grades, financial records, and other personal information). FERPA applies to all students attending SVA, regardless of age.
Student FERPA Rights
- The right to inspect and review your educational records. You may submit a written request to the Registrar that specifies the record(s) you wish to inspect. SVA will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the record(s) may be inspected.
- The right to request the amendment of your education records that you believe to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of your privacy rights under FERPA. To do this, simply write the SVA office responsible for the record, make clear which part you want changed, and specify what you feel is inaccurate or misleading. If SVA decides not to amend the record, the College will notify you in writing of the decision and advise you of your right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
- The right to agree to disclosures of personally identifiable information (PII) contained in educational records (information that would make identity easily traceable—e.g., your Social Security number), except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. An example of disclosure without consent would be the opening of your records to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by SVA in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of SVA who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent or a student volunteering to assist another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for SVA.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of SVA to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
SVA may disclose Directory Information to third-party organizations without a student’s consent. Such outside organizations may include, but are not limited to, federal and state agencies offering jobs and educational benefits, potential employers, insurance agencies and financial institutions.
“Directory Information” is defined by SVA as: student’s name, address, telephone number, email address, major field of study, enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate, full- or part-time), dates of attendance, and degree(s) conferred.
If students wish to restrict the disclosure of directory information, they should complete a FERPA Disclosure Form, which is available at the Registrar’s Office and online by clicking here.
The College honors requests to withhold directory information but cannot assume responsibility for contacting a student for subsequent permission to release information. Regardless of the effect, the College assumes no liability for honoring instructions that such information be withheld.
SVA typically will disclose personally identifiable information (PII) — such as a Social Security number, grades, or other private information — from a student’s education record only with the written consent of the student. However, FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the student, if the disclosure meets one or more of the following conditions:
- To other school officials, including teachers, within SVA whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests. This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions.
- To officials of another school where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer. SVA will make a reasonable attempt to inform the student before the disclosure, unless the student initiated the request.
- To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as a State postsecondary authority that is responsible for supervising the university’s State-supported education programs. Disclosures under this provision may be made, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs. These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.
- In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
- To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, SVA, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction.
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.
- To the parent(s) or guardian(s) of an eligible student who claimed the student as a dependent on their most recent income tax return, provided the parent(s) or guardian(s) provide adequate documentation of the dependent status, in writing. Disclosure may not be made without such written documentation.
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena. SVA will make a reasonable attempt to inform the student before the disclosure, unless ordered not to do so by the subpoena.
- To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
- To a victim of an alleged crime of violence, including a non-forcible sex offense. The disclosure may only include the final results of the disciplinary proceeding with respect to that alleged crime or offense, regardless of the finding.
- To the general public, the final results of a disciplinary proceeding if the school determines the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense and the student has committed a violation of the school’s rules or policies with respect to the allegation made against them.
- To parents(s) or guardian(s) of a student regarding the student’s violation of any Federal, State, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the school, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance if the school determines the student committed a disciplinary violation and the student is under the age of 21.
- To Veterans Administration officials, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, military recruiters, or the Internal Revenue Service, under certain conditions.
Student Consent to Allow or Prevent Disclosure
The FERPA Disclosure Form allows students to instruct SVA to do the following:
- Allow or prevent disclosure of Directory Information to third parties, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- Allow or prevent disclosure of education records to parents, guardians, or other individuals of the student’s choosing.
The FERPA Disclosure Form is available in the Registrar’s Office and online by clicking here.
- Student Request to Inspect and Review Education Records - students may complete this form if they wish to review their education records.
- FERPA Guidance for Parents of Postsecondary Students - provides parents with information on what information can be disclosed from their children's education records.
- FERPA Guide for Faculty and Staff - provides SVA faculty and staff members with guidance on complying with FERPA regulations.
- US Department of Education FERPA Guidance - detailed information from the US Family Policy Compliance Office regarding FERPA.